Friday, September 13, 2013

Exactly HOW old am I? Hip FAI and Running

So I've complained to most everyone in my personal and running circles about my stupid stubborn hip, and how much I hate it.  But I haven't really talked about what the deal is.  Mostly because it sucks (if you haven't gathered that, yet).  I've had to spend the last week or so processing the diagnosis and learning more, and I'm a bit angry about the situation.  So excuse the less than stellar writing and the colorful language as I explain what's going on....

I was beginning to plot out my training plan to venture into the world of ultramarathoning.  For a year or so I've been "wanting" to do an ultra (as in a 50 miler), and I was nearing commitment.  I'd already locked into the Cowtown Ultra (which is 31.something miles) and the plan was to use that as my launching pad into real training.

And then I fell off an inflatable climbing wall.

I heard a funny "pop" in my hip and it hurt like a mo'fo.  But like most things, I pretended it didn't happen, ignored it, and ran another 25 mile week after it happened.  When I finally decided to see my chiropractor about the matter, it was a week later and we were looking at some big freakin' deal.

"You may have broken your hip, here genius.  This totally confirms you're old." is what he told me after the X-Ray showed some "funky" looking stuff going on in my hip joint.

We also remembered that I'd experienced some funky pain in that hip last year around the same time, so it would be best to examine further and ordered me for an  MRI and told me that there was to be zero running until further notice. 

On my way home, I cried my eyes out.

We runners are addicts.  Like drug addicts.  If you told a meth addict that they were going to lose all their teeth tomorrow, and so you just stole their stash, they'd lose their shit.  That's exactly what happened when running was taken from me.  I lost any sense of ability to think rationally and went into pure, "OMG, my hip is broken, I can't run, I can't coach, I'm a mess."  Plus my hip hurt.  A lot.

An MRI and a trip to the surgeon's office got me my diagnosis; which sort of stinks more than a broken hip.  Though, at least it makes me feel 30 years younger.  While I don't have a fracture, I have an anterior labral tear, which is more likely a result of a condition called FAI, and the fall sort of helped the tear happen.

WTH is FAI?  Someone who has Hip FAI (Hip Impingement) has a hip socket that's essentially screwed up from the get go.  The "ball" of the hip joint is misshapen or set in the wrong way so that it doesn't work "smoothly" and the bone can become rough, spurred, and impinge the labrum.  Mine has caused a tear, which will eventually require surgical repair.

The good news is that my hip doesn't typically hurt much when I'm running, after about 3 miles.  Once everything is warmed up and loosened and I'm in the zone, things are good.  The bad news is that it hurts like holy heck when I'm done.

I'm in no hurry to have hip surgery, which at this point would only be to correct the tear.   There is no cure for FAI, only some relief from Physical Therapy.  FAI could be a big deal as I get older, and as my surgeon put it, if I don't "chill out a little now" I'll pay for it in my 40's. 

This is a new hurdle in my life and I'll have to adjust my goals. Instead of looking forward to training for 50 milers, I'll probably have to reconsider my future plans.  My surgeon's recommendation was to "do less marathons, take up biking, or swimming" which I totally translated into: "50 mile runs bad- but Iron Man tri good."

Clearly I'm not ready to rent a walker and lay down on the couch for the rest of my life....2 hours after leaving my surgeon's office, I had successfully dealt with my frustrating diagnosis by spending quality time on a treadmill with my best pal....

Kiss it hip....I ain't got time for you.